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09 Ascog Triangle (30.4.18)

Posted 30/4/2018


This year’s early spring walk is on the east side of the island, at Ascog.  Park the car at the bottom of Balmory Road (Grid Reference NS107629) or take the bus to Ascog Hall.  The walk is about two miles long, each leg of the triangle being a little over half a mile.

Follow Balmory Road inland as it climbs gently between dense patches of Wild Garlic (Ramsons) and Ground Elder, the former just coming into flower.   Where the ground cover permits, Pink Purslane (despite its name, many examples are actually white!) and the beautiful Golden Saxifrage are plentiful.

Beyond the last house the tar-sealed road becomes a farm track, edged on the right by a predominantly Hawthorn hedge.  Especially in the last 100 yards before reaching a tar-sealed road again, search in the hedge bottom to see the tiny but delightful Moscatel, sometimes called the Townhall Clock because of the arrangement of its 5 flowers into 4 opposite faces (with 1 on top).

At the junction, turn left to follow the road back down to the coast.  Although being vigilant for traffic, do not miss the shy Dog-violets hiding across the ditch on the left side of the road, under the hedge.


Beyond the bridge further down the road, the Blackthorn is in flower, and there is a good early display of the white flowers of the Greater Stitchwort.  The woodland next on the right is noted for its bluebells, but in this year’s late spring these are still only just starting to bloom.  The Sycamore trees are now coming into leaf, although the Beech have still some way to go; ground cover is predominantly Great Woodrush (all the woodrushes have distinctive long white hairs on the edges of their leaves, a useful ID feature).  There are small patches of Wild Garlic and it’s a good place to see the delicate white, lilac-veined flowers of the Wood-sorrel.  Lower down the road on the right, the Wood Anemone is now fully in flower.


Cross over the coast road and, unless the tide is very high, you can follow the shoreline all the way back to your starting point.  All along the shore are patches of Scurvygrass; it’s not a grass but a pretty white flower that was used in earlier times by sailors on long voyages to counteract any potential vitamin C deficiency.


A full list of the species in flower on this walk is as follows:-

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa
Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Colt's-foot Tussilago farfara
Common Dog-violet Viola riviana
Daffodil Narcissus agg.
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Dog's Mercury Mercurialis perennis
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Great Woodrush Luzula sylvatica
Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea
Green Alkanet Pentaglottis sempervivens
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Ivy-leaved Toadflax Cymbalaria muralis
Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna
Moschatel Adoxa moschatellina
Opp-leaved Golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
Pink Purslane Claytonia sibirica
Primrose Primula vulgaris
Red Campion Silene dioica
Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis
Thale Cress Arabidopsis thaliana
Wavy Bittercress Cardamine flexuosa
Wild Garlic Allium ursinum
Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa
Wood-sorrel Oxalis acetosella